Any upgrades in Tacoma?

Q.  Anybody at Tacoma who deserves the promotion more than Mike Wilson does?

Most of the Rainiers, man, I've never seen it so packed with fringe ML vets.  Nelson, Wilson, Bard, Woodward, Hannahan, Vazquez, slap me silly can't you get third-string Mariners off the waiver wire if you're that security-conscious?

Bill James, in the 1980's, found a pretty strong mathematical correlation between these two things:

  1. An MLB ballclub outperforming its expectation, having an UP year
  2. An MLB ballclub whose AAA feeder had a winning record the year before

Bill explained that things go wrong for NL and AL teams, and when they do, the teams need to be able to go down and get help.

Zduriencik is being very cool and professional about it, but he is chipping his teeth over the thinness of the soup here.


Nobody is looking at allllll like they might have solved the league, except Mikey, and in a stretch ....


Q.  How about Matt Mangini?

A.  Jon Shields with a superb recap of oncoming M's prospects at PBNW... um, Lookout Landing ... um, your local roto mag at Borders... Jon's a 5-headed hydra these days.  You go amig-O.

The big lefty 3B (love that template) is slugging .550 -- but his EYE is 13:35.  What would it be in the American League, then?   It's not getting better recently:  3:7 EYE, .300 OBP, .300 SLG.  He's talented, but not quite ready. 

Still, 3B is open for the M's for a while, so they've got a call to make between Tui and Mangini.  Tui's the no-brainer to me, but maybe not to you.

Q.  Greg Halman?

A. ... is slugging .539 in a huge park, but he also has 57 strikeouts in 34 games and you shudder to think what that multiplies to in the AL.   Take the encouragement and be thankful for small favors.


Q.  Alex Liddi?

A.  Had no idea, before Jon pointed it out, that he was OPS'ing 1100 in June.  And the EYE is improving, to 6:8 this month.

His BABIP is .421.  It's a nice surge, and Liddi has jelled as a blue-chip prospect.  But lots of time left on this guy.


Q.  Leaving us where?

A.  Leaving us with, 17 walks is plenty for me, against only 20 walks and with the vaporized HR's undiminished. 

Wilson's more than ready for a serious evaluation in Safeco, and it ain't like we fans couldn't use a good reason to buy a game ticket or two.


When the M's get home, regain the DH, you put Bradley at DH and give the LF time to Saunders and Mike Wilson.  Can't kick Saunders to the curb, but as the A's have shown us, there's nothing wrong with making 9 players fight for time at 5 spots.



Dr D


TAD's picture

A handful of minor leaguers have seemingly had a positive step function increase in performance beginning about 2mos into the season (Ackley, Truinfel, Mike Wilson, Liddi, Dennis Raben, Vincent Catricala).  Don't know if this just correlates to the players making the necessary adjustments, or possibly the weather warming up, or could it be the new and improved workout regimen implemented by Dr. Marcus Elliot???
If I remember correctly, Geoff Baker reported that Dr. Elliot explained it would take about 2mos into the season before we would start seeing some appreciable results.  Dr. Elliots program's aim is to increase the rotatational strength/explosiveness of an individual athlete.  It would be nice to know how much of this focus training translates into actual competitive advantage as the players attempt to max out their actual performance levels on the field and what are the actual performance metrics that the M's and Dr. Elliot are using to determine the program's effectiveness.
Back to Mike Wilson.  If he can continue this level of performance and approach at the plate for another couple of weeks don't know why the M's would want to hold him back.  The M's need some semblance of power in the line up.  They promoted both Saunders and Carp this year when their performance at Tacoma did not seem to warrant the call up - except there really were no better options at the time.

RockiesJeff's picture

Let him try third and stop those bullet grounders with his chest? I have a place in my heart for late bloomers and would love to see another one here. I know that Spring Training is just ST but MSW had a great month in '09. It is not like the offense does not need that power!! 
Good articles...thanks!

moe's picture

I wonder if Langerhans' start and his subsequent o-fer last night was Wak's last ditch effort to get value out of him (beyond nice D and the occassionaly walk....his PH HR the other night notwithstanding)?  Could it be the precursor to a Wilson call up?  Let's hope so.
Langerhans would be a very valuable player for a team in contention.  Great defense, plays COF and 1B, LH PH bat.  There is a value there to the Yankees or the Rays.  Not much to the Mariners.  Seems like th Yankee's always have a guy like that.  Randy Winn or a Leyritz.  Earl Weaver, back in the day, used to love the Rettenmund types. 
Mike Wilson homered in the second game last night.  Singled in the first game (was picked off first in that game AND thrown out at second).  2-6, 0 BB's, 1 K for the night.
It's his turn.  Let's see it happen.
Brunansky #'s are in the realm of things.  Luzinski, after his prime years, is a bit more of a reach. Possible though.  But interestingly, the projected #'s Doc referenced  based on Wilson's AAA performance fall somewhere inbetween these two guys, the guys I originally suggested that Wilson might emulate.
As I think about my desire to see Ackley up soon I've come to realize that Sweeney's DL stint makes bringing up Ackley tough for a bit.  If you bring Ackley up now and release Kotchman, you then have a 25-Man issue when Sweeney can play again.  Would you option Carp out at that point?  I don't know.  But if Sweeney is still a month away then I think I would just do the Ackley/Kotchman move right now and give Ackley 20 some starts. Give the rest to Carp, who I like BTW, and let them duke it out. handle the Sweeney issue when it arises.  And BTW, I think I want Sweeney on my coaching staff next year.
Interestingly, Langerhans probably has more value to a contending team than Kotchman does, right now.
And off the subject, have you checked out RA Dickey's success with the Mets this year?  4-0 with a 2.78 in 5 starts.  I hated to see Dickey leave the Mariners.  I know he didn't light things up for the M's but there is great value to a knuckleballer who doesn't walk a lot of guys and can pitch dang near every other day.  A guy like that is a staff saver.  He can start on short rest, if need be, and can long/mid relief frequently.  Even with his 5.3+ ERA in '08 he was a heck of a lot better than this year's Snell or French or RRS.
Good for him!  I'm glad he's found some success.  He's a great story.
Great posts, Doc.


Mike Wilson, meet Justin Leone.
Leone, AA, age 26:
.288/.405/.541/.946, 92:104 BB:K
AAA, age 27:
.269/.344/.597/.941, 26:82 BB:K
Wilson, AA-AAA, age 27:
.279/.400/.589/.989, 37:54 BB:K
I guess I've just seen this year before.  Leone got his callup, snagged 100 ABs with a .25 eye, and that was all the Mariners wanted to see. He was booted back to AAA, never to return.  And having seen Mike for a few games in the minors this year, I don't know that his pitch recognition is any better.  Maybe I'll get some pics/video for you tonight, Doc, so you can see him.  He's a big, strong man who can hit a ball a long way...but so's Brad Nelson.
Mike Wilson has always had a pretty even L/R split, though, unlike Nelson.  Could Mike be turning into someone useful at 27, finally healthy and having seen enough pitches to be effective?  Sure.
More likely, he's just having a Leone campaign, a brief shining light that comes with sticking around through 2000 minor league ABs and becoming the definition of a AAAA player.
Still, we're not doing anything else useful the rest of the year, so sure, call the kid up and let him take a whack at the bigs.  We might Wily Mo Pena a couple of useful seasons out of him.  His Tacoma BABIP is/was .270 not .400 or something, so he's not riding on that kind of luck right now either.
I agree with your assessment of Tacoma right now, though - it looks like that 2004 team did.  That team had Rene Rivera and Jose Lopez as 20 years olds, though, surrounded by a bunch of "professional minor league hitters" in their late 20s.
This team has Halman and Carrera at 22, 23, surrounded by the same.  Maybe 27 year old Mike Wilson can do what Leone and Jacobsen could not: crack the ML roster and stay.  24 year old Mangini has a shot still to do that as well.

Still, I already want to fast-forward to a season that has top pitching prospects in Tacoma in 2011 like Robles and Pineda, potentially, as well as a little bit of Ackley and Peguero added to our late-20s Tacoma-ites.  This season is filler both in the bigs and AAA.

TAD's picture

Hey G_Money,
with the body type, ability to steal bases, and the positions in the field they can play - I believe Nate Tenbrink at West Tenn is the left handed Justin Leone.  He's a few years younger in comparison perhaps but the way he is performing in the minors reminds me of Justin - hopefully Nate will be able to go a little further in his career though.
With regards to Mike Wilson, I'll agree if you look at this years numbers in their entirety it mirrors the numbers you flashed up for Justin Leone.  However if you look at Mike's performance over the last 15-20 games his walks have shot up and K rate has gone down.  Is this sustainable? Dont know.  But it is something to track to see if he can have continued increase success with this new approach.
Mike's game is not without flaws, whose isn't though.  But his power potential in the system really is unsurpassed.  Look at both Brad Nelson and Tommy Everidge they are both strong powerful men, but they have been unable to mimic Mike's power output.  Obviously Halman and Peguero in the high minor leagues also have some incredible power, but they have not been able to put it together to perform at a consistent level.
Finally, if Jusin got 100AB's might as well give Mike his 100AB's, and see what he can do. 
I'm sure he will out perform Balentein's numbers from a year ago.  So give him a shot


Tenbrink getting hit in the head really put a damper on his season.  Glad to see him back, and I hope he doesn't suffer too many ill effects.  He was finally putting his athletic talent to good use on the field.  The kid's just 23, so he's not in a crazy rush, but a good showing to finish the year should put him in AAA next season at 24.  There's nothing wrong with that.
The comp to Leone's numbers was just to suggest that 27 year old, career minor league hitters have explosive numbers all the time. 
The top hitters in the PCL right now by OPS are aged: 33 (Lindsey),  26 (Gordon...prospect!), 26 (Ka'iahue), 23 (Posey...prospect!), followed by Redman (30), Gibbons (33), Hoffpauir (27), Deeds (29), Lubanski (25)...
Some of it is that it takes a while to work your way up the leagues.  Part of it is that there comes a point when you can stalk a pitch in the minors because the pitchers either can't consistently hit the part of the plate you suck at covering or they don't know which part of the plate that is because advance scouting in the minors isn't exactly a priority.
And players get stronger as they mature into their bodies.  There's a reason the age 26 season is viewed as the breakout one.  It's where experience and body maturation should cross and allow you to take best advantage of your skillset.
Which is what Wilson is doing.  No argument there.  And I'm all for promoting him and giving him a couple hundred ABs to finish up the season, see if he can pump some life into the roster as well as reward a kid who has toiled away in the minors for more than half a decade.
But it's not an unheard-of sort of breakout, that's all.


.. on all that.  :- )
Age 26-28 ... the knowledge chart is a line always up; the reflexes line is always down after a certain age (say 25) ... for a short time the two battle each other to produce a peak, maybe age 26, 27, 28, but after that the reflex loss weighs heavier than the knowledge gain...
At 26, 27, 28, those minor leaguers have massive knowledge and as G notes, often the pitchers can't really pitch well enough to exploit the reflex loss until 30, even 32...
Even ham-and-egger bats will outsmart the PCL if they're given 5 consecutive years in it :- )

Rick M's picture

There's no place for him with the M's right now, but everyone may be selling Ezequiel Carrera short.  The consensus is a 4th outfielder, but the dude hit at a .441 OBP as a 22 year old in AA last year in nearly 400 PAs with 27 SBs.  His averages are on the rise in Tacoma, currently around .340 OBP.  I expect him to make some team somewhere in the majors very happy as a lead off hitter before all is said and done, perhaps as another Podsednik.  You just don't see 22 year olds hit like that in AA.  It's a special accomplishment.


I like Carrera-type guys a bunch.  Walk, can fly and catch the ball.  However, they really need a bit of punch around them.  But if he shows some power progression (which would translate to 30-35 doubles) he can be in the Lonnie Smith type mold.  Remember Smith from The White Rat's old Cardinals?  He was a heck of a player.  So was Willie McGee and he was in that kind of mold.  Both had some great years.  Smith had the much better eye...and seems to be the upside for Carrera.  BTW, that's a pretty good upside.
All the more reason to find out what we have in Wilson.  Carrera might be ready to make a MLB push next year. Let's see if Wilson is the masher such a lineup would need!
If Carrera is readly...then we could be seeing a high OPB group of Ichiro, Figgy, Carrera, and Ackley in the lineup.
The White Rat would be proud.  With a Lopez return to 25 homers and Gut in the 20+ range you could win with such a lineup.  Whitey proved that.  But it would be nice if Wilson became a Jack Clark!

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